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Government of Canada working to speed up foreign credential recognition for medical doctors

TORONTO, ONTARIO —The Government of Canada is funding a project that will make the process of obtaining a medical licence faster for internationally trained physicians. The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, made the announcement today on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

The Medical Council of Canada will receive over $2.8 million in Foreign Credential Recognition Program funding for its project entitled National Registration Process for Internationally Educated Physicians.

“Canadians with loved ones who are sick or injured want foreign-trained medical doctors in the emergency room or the doctor’s office doing what they do best,” said Minister Kenney. “This investment is part of the federal government’s overall action plan to work with the provinces and territories to ensure that licensing bodies put in place better programs to recognize foreign credentials.”

Since 2006, the Government of Canada has made foreign credential recognition a top priority. The Government created the Foreign Credentials Referral Office in 2007 with an initial investment of $37.2 million over five years, which was increased by $7.5 million in Budget 2009 and subsequently by $6 million in 2010–2011.

Through Canada’s Economic Action Plan, the Government also invested $50 million to improve foreign credential recognition. Our government put foreign credentials on the agenda at the First Ministers Meeting in 2009, which led to the creation of a pan-Canadian framework for the recognition of foreign qualifications, developed in partnership with the provinces and territories and other stakeholders.

The Medical Council of Canada’s project will create a registration process that will allow foreign-trained physicians to apply for a medical licence electronically, in any province or territory. This includes an online portal where international medical graduates can access licensing information and apply for eligibility assessments for entry into practice or postgraduate programs in Canada.

The Council will also collaborate with governments, regulatory agencies, faculties of medicine and other assessment organizations to create a national credentials database for physician documents, in order to further streamline the application process.

“Once the application for medical registration launches in 2012, the process to apply for a medical licence will become much easier,” said Dr. Trevor Theman, Vice-President of the Medical Council of Canada’s Executive Board. “Physicians will only have to submit a pre‑populated electronic application and provide access to authenticated credentials.”

To learn more about Canada’s Economic Action Plan, visit www.actionplan.gc.ca.

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This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.



The Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications articulates a new national vision, guiding principles and desired outcomes for improving the assessment and recognition of newcomers’ qualifications in cooperation with the provinces and territories.

Under the Framework, foreign credential and experience recognition will be streamlined for eight priority occupations, including some health care professions. This means that foreign‑trained workers who submit an application to be licensed or registered to work in certain fields will be advised within one year whether their qualifications will be recognized. Otherwise, they will be advised of additional requirements or be directed to alternative occupations that would benefit from their skills and experience.

The Framework will focus on six more target occupations by December 2012, including physicians. TheFramework is part of the Government of Canada’s strategy to have the best educated, most skilled and most flexible workforce in the world.

With this $50-million investment, the Government will:

develop the principles that will guide the process of foreign credential recognition;
establish standards for the timely handling of requests;
identify key occupations that will be the priority for developing recognition standards; and
help people who want to come to Canada understand what they need to know before they arrive.
The Medical Council of Canada is responsible for evaluating and licensing physicians in Canada. Working with stakeholders, the Council develops standards and ensures that medical graduates meet these requirements before they are awarded the Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada.

The Foreign Credential Recognition Program aims to improve the integration of internationally trained workers into the workforce. The Program provides funding to and works with the provinces and territories and stakeholders, including regulatory bodies, post‑secondary institutions, sector councils and employers, to implement projects that facilitate the assessment and recognition of qualifications acquired in other countries.

The Foreign Credentials Referral Office (FCRO) was established in May 2007 to help internationally trained workers receive the information, path-finding and referral services, in Canada and overseas, to have their credentials assessed quickly so they can find work faster in the fields for which they have been trained. The FCRO works with federal, provincial and territorial partners, and foreign credential assessment and recognition bodies, to strengthen foreign credential recognition processes across the country. Internet services for internationally trained workers can be found on the FCRO website at the following address: www.credentials.gc.ca.

Michelle Bakos    9/19/2010


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